Young people – if you're so upset by the outcome of the EU referendum, then why didn't you get out and vote?

It has been estimated that only 36 per cent of people in the 18 – 24 year old category voted in the EU referendum. 64 per cent of young people did not bother to take themselves down to the polling station and place their vote 

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The Independent Online

Swaths of young people in this country have been lamenting at the fact that our futures have been “ruined” by selfish older voters who probably won’t live to see the full extent of the damage they have caused.

Yet, it has been estimated that only 36 per cent of people in the 18 – 24 year old category voted in the EU referendum. 64 per cent of young people did not bother to take themselves down to the polling station and cast their ballot.

Turnout in areas with a higher proportion of young residents was lower across the country. So, it is rather hypocritical for the young to chastise older Brits when less of us voted than those who did not.

If you want to secure your own future, you know what would be a good idea? Actively leaving your house, heading to the polling station and exercising your democratic right to vote as a UK citizen. By not getting out and voting on Thursday, the young handed the EU referendum to the grey vote on a plate.

Signing a petition following a vote that you did not participate in that did not go your way is absurd.

The 51.9 per cent to 48.1 per cent was so close – if the rest of the young had voted, the outcome could have been very different. The gap between Remain and Leave was 1,269,501 votes. The estimated population of 20 – 24 year olds in 2015 was 3,806,471 – only 492,306 applied to register to vote in the months running up to the election. Many young voters would still have been on the electoral register from the General Election and local elections – this figure is to show that of the 2 million people who panic registered in the last weeks, only around one quarter were young voters.  

It has been estimated that if 16-17 year olds had been able to vote, they would have voted 82 per cent for Remain.  People have bemoaned that 16 and 17 year olds should have been given the vote – perhaps they should have, to make up for the fact that the 18 – 24 year olds couldn’t be bothered.

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There are various reasons why the youth of this country did not come out to vote – lack of engagement from the primary parties and not understanding what they were voting for could be some. But, this vote has been discussed for months. The government even extended the voting deadline so that the young could register themselves at the last second because three months wasn’t a long enough time period to fill in a five minute form online.

These statistics and voting figures need to be taken on board by the government, and changes need to be made for the next election. Either a digital system needs to be put in place, so that there are more ways for the young to vote, seeing as walking five minutes from your house to a polling station and drawing a cross in a box is too difficult, or we need to introduce an Australian style voting system, so that those who do not vote are fined.

If the country is going to be plunged into civil war then steps must be taken to ensure that this never happens again, and that we’re all held accountable, young and old, for the decisions made in this country.      

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